Certain groups of people are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19). These people need to take extra care and minimise contact with other people outside of their household.
What has changed?
COVID-19 numbers are currently (November 2020) rising rapidly across the whole of the UK.
Everyone in England, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, is required to follow the new National Restrictions from 5 November, which have been set out by the government and apply to the whole population. These restrictions:
- require people to stay at home, except for specific purposes
- prevent people gathering with those they do not live with, except for specific purposes
- close certain businesses and venues
If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You:
- should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise all of your contacts with others
- should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace
Children however should continue to attend school, unless advised not to by a health professional.
Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:
- aged 70 or over (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
- a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
- being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
Clinically extremely vulnerable
There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. New information has been provided by the government and this includes additional guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people, to help protect them from coronavirus (COVID-19).
More information for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Supporting people staying at home
If you are staying at home here are some things to consider to help you stay safe and well.
- If you need medical help, the NHS is still here for you. It’s important not to delay seeking held if you have symptoms that you are worried about.
- If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them either online, by an app or by phone. Many patients can be assessed over the phone or through video consultation without having to attend the practice but your GP will see you face to face if required.
- If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 service either online or by calling 111.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of a serious or life-threatening emergency such as a heart attack or stroke, call 999.
- It’s important that babies and children continue with their routine immunisations and that pregnant women still attend antenatal appointments. If you have concerns about your mental health you can contact your GP or key worker. If you are stressed or anxious you can get advice at www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/
- You can order repeat prescriptions online or by telephone without having to visit your GP.
- You should continue to attend your GP and hospital appointments, unless you have been told not to attend.
- In primary care and in hospitals the NHS is taking stringent precautions to protect patients – and staff – from catching coronavirus, for example by having far fewer patients in waiting areas to ensure social distancing and by ensuring all staff and patients are wearing face masks.
For further information on how to get NHS help visit www.dudleyccg.nhs.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-getting-nhs-help-when-you-need-it/
Helplines and more information to support you
An army of people and services are working around the clock to support older and vulnerable people and put new measures in place to ensure that no vulnerable person in our community is left unsupported.
You can find out more information about what you can do to help older or vulnerable people in your community at Dudley CVS coronavirus webpage.
There are services available to help including Dudley Council services, charities, community groups, faith groups and other organisations.
Information for people who care for a family member or a friend
If you care for a family member or friend you can continue to visit them, unless they or you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus.
- View the latest national advice for unpaid carers
- Contact Dudley Carer’s Hub on 01384 818723 for advice and practical support during the coronavirus outbreak
- You should wash your hands for 20 seconds on arrival and often during your visit as well as when leaving
- If you sneeze or cough don’t forget to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’
- You should keep a safe distance of two meters or three steps away from the person you care for
- If you become unwell, you need to make other arrangements for care of the person that you care for, this should be planned for in advanced by creating a contingency plan. This should include your details, the cared for person's details, information about any medication and treatment, any medical appointments and details of who can step in during your absence. Dudley Carers Hub has created a contingency planning toolkit (download PDF). Alternatively you can request a printed copy by calling 01384 818723.
- Make sure the person you care for has the information they need about who they should call if they feel unwell, for example NHS 111
- Look after your own well-being and physical health
- Information to help young carers and young adult carers (aged under 25) is also now available. The government guidance is designed to help young carers understand the changes they need to make and details the assistance available during the pandemic. View the guidance for young carers.
- Carers can also access our virtual groups for carers, which take place via Zoom. There are a number of different groups depending on your situation, the sessions are run by Sandwell Crossroads and provides an opportunity to meet and chat with other carers, for more information contact the hub.
- Our Young Carer Service is provided by Sandwell Crossroads, who can provide information, advice and support to young people who provide care to family member. Please call 01384 886429
- Carers are able to access PPE for Covid-19 related needs if they provide personal care to another individual. Please contact Dudley Carers Hub for more information on 01384 818723 or email email@example.com
If you are pregnant, there’s lots of information on a healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding support available at Let's Get Healthy. If you are pregnant and worried about coronavirus you can find specific, expert advice from www.nhs.uk/pregnancy-and-coronavirus and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
From 28 weeks of pregnancy your midwife can sign you up to a free text service called Flo which will send you texts during your pregnancy and up to six weeks after your baby is born with useful tips and information. If you’d like to know more about Flo have a look at our introduction to Flo video.
If you are pregnant it is important that you still attend your antenatal appointments and continue to seek advice from your midwife or maternity team.